Guest Blog: RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices
Guest Blogger: Rachel Gilner is an Outreach Coordinator for Asbestos.com. She specializes in asbestos awareness, education, and safety issues within the online community. You can follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter for the latest asbestos and mesothelioma updates.
RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices
In 2008 the EPA began forcing contractors to abide by the RRP Rule regarding lead and its health hazard. As noted in the rule, certification is required when working with homes built prior to 1978, which is also the same time period asbestos was commonly used in building homes. Like lead, asbestos is an extreme health risk for contractors and homeowners. Since asbestos removal is not required by law it often goes unnoticed by contractors. Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the lining of the lungs.
If There’s Lead, There’s Probably Asbestos
The EPA created the RRP Rule because lead is found in many products in homes. Asbestos was also used frequently in homes in similar products such as paint, floor tiles, roofing tiles, and water pipes. It is safe to assume that where lead is present, asbestos is also near. Asbestos is only a serious health hazard when it is disturbed, which means during renovations the fibers may be set airborne and inhaled by workers.
Best Practices for Asbestos are Similar to Lead
According to the RRP Rule workers are required to remain up-to-date on training and lead-safe work practices. Although the only current laws regarding asbestos removal are for abatement companies and not contractors, safe handling is still important all around. Here are some good rules of thumb:
- Assume asbestos is present if you are working with an older home if it has not been tested by the owners
- Post warning signs around the area containing asbestos
- Wear a HEPA certified protective face mask to avoid inhaling asbestos dust fibers
- Wet down asbestos particles you may see to avoid them from becoming airborne
- Change your clothes before returning home and keep work clothes away from family members
Protecting Your Workers
Although asbestos is not included in the RRP Rule, companies should still be concerned about the health and well-being of their workers. Workers are protected under OSHA, and have the right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe working conditions. It would be in the best interest of employers to be aware of lead or asbestos on the premises. If a proper test has not been performed you should always assume lead or asbestos is present until it is proven otherwise
For additional information on Asbestos visit Asbestos.com. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos and would like to speak with someone directly our advocates can be reached directly at 800-815-7924.